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Covid in Greece

Hi everyone, I am new here but needs some advise. I have a trip planned to go to Greece in Sept. 2 thru 13 I will be staying in Athens for 2 days and then cruising the greek isles on Norwegian Jade for 7 days. I have been reading about all the covid cases there are in greece and it concerns me. Has anyone been to Greece lately and were you concerned about covid I am thinking about canceling. I am fully vaccinated 7 months ago. Also was everything open or is there still alot of restrictions on the islands?

Posted by
8 posts

I am coming from America, the cruise is going to be fully vaccinated and covid tests before and after the cruise. With stops in crete, Rhodes, mykonos, Olympia, corfu and santorini. I will be off the boat every day only on it at night.

Posted by
2764 posts

At this point, I don't see traveling abroad as much different from being in the US in terms of covid safety, but maybe like me, you live in a highly vaccinated area where most people wear masks. I don't see being in Greece as any more risky than being in the southern US for example.
We all have different levels of risk tolerance. I am currently not traveling, as my tolerance for risking testing positive and being quarantined is absolutely nil. You have to weigh your own health and economic situation.
Be sure you are current on the rules for travel, testing, etc. Here is a good resource: https://gr.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information/
Good luck! I sure hope to be visiting Greece next year.

Posted by
1316 posts

Risk is obviously a personal choice. This article gives the current rates in Greece.

https://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2021/08/19/greece-coronavirus-positivity-rate/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+KeepTalkingGreece+%28Keep+Talking+Greece%29

Mykonos has one of the highest incidences. In Crete Rethymnon, Iraklion and Chania all currently have curfews because of high case loads and the island’s hospitals are full.

Sorry to report bad news. As I say, a personal choice.

Alan

Posted by
975 posts

The biggest concern I have about travel to Greece is what happens if by chance you get infected there. While I am fully vaccinated one can still get the virus although that's slight, but worth the risk?

To return to the US you need a negative covid test. If positive you are quarantined in Greece but at whose expense?

Will your return flight be refunded or do you lose that money and have to re-book? To re-book on short notice is very expensive.

I'm going back-and-forth on whether to cancel. I can get a full refund on my flight but have to decide within a certain time frame and that time frame is coming close!

Posted by
8 posts

Hi, I have the same concern I need to cancel by tomorrow to get a travel credit and I do not know about my flight. I am fully vaccinated and do not think I would get a bad case. But who wants to be quarantined in Greece. So I am debating the same thing should i go to Greece and chance it? Or should I cancel and go at a later date?

I did read that you have to fill out a PLF form and that if you test positive in Greece you will go to a quarantine hotel For 10 days this is covered by the Greek state. This is my fear to be in Greece but not being able to see Greece. Also I will be going to the islands and would hate to have so many restrictions that you are not able to any fun. So my dilemma continues!

Posted by
1925 posts

As Alan says, risk is very personal and no one can make your decision for you. I was there last month, but situations change rapidly - everywhere. What I loved about Greece was that almost everywhere I went, including all restaurant seating, was outside. But you still have to enter an airport and ride a plane. Personally, I knew I would be ok with the time and expense required by a quarantine if necessary; but lots of people would not be. I also didn’t hit party spots and was there when their numbers were a little lower. The only island I was on was Santorini, but everything was open where I went. Feel free to check out my trip report.

Posted by
4738 posts

The biggest concern I have about travel to Greece is what happens if by chance you get infected there. While I am fully vaccinated one can still get the virus although that's slight, but worth the risk?

If you have access to the New York Times, they had a recent article profiling travelers who tested positive while on vacation. If you can get past the paywall, the article is here:
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/18/travel/blindsided-abroad-vaccinated-but-testing-positive-on-a-trip-to-europe.html?smid=url-share

One of the couples profiled tested positive in Greece, despite being vaccinated. The article states that after the test they received a call telling them they would be picked up and transported to a quarantine hotel. The article states that they were quarantined for 7 days. They stated, “It was very well organized, and they were extremely nice to us,” Ms. DeMuth said of the first days of their quarantine. “They brought us three meals a day and anything we ordered on the internet was delivered to our door.”

Posted by
293 posts

We leave for Greece in 4 weeks. All of these thoughts are swirling in our heads as well. I agree with Val that travel in Greece right now is likely similar to US travel. Vaccination rates for total population are very close in the 2 countries. Testing positive is a concern, but other than the NYT article, I can't seem to find any other cases of this happening. As of today, this is what we are doing; purchased several 3M N95 masks, surgical masks, and gators that we will wear as needed in different situations. We are loading up on supplements, specifically vitamin D and C. Eat outside and avoid crowded activities. Cross our fingers!!!

Posted by
8 posts

Good morning from the USA! Thank you for all the great advise, today is the day that I have to cancel to get a portion of my money back. I will let everyone know what I do. I think I will be very safe bring N-95 masks, stay away from crowds and maybe it will be better there in two weeks. Wish me luck! Lol

Posted by
975 posts

It's good Greece will cover the cost of the hotel and meals if you get the virus in Greece and have to quarantine. At least that saves money but not to be able to leave the room or hotel must have been stir-crazy. I don't mind extra time in Greece but not under those conditions.

I didn't see anything regarding the flight back home.

Did the airlines give them credit for the return flight or did they lose that money and have to buy another ticket on short notice for the return which can be very expensive?

Posted by
7990 posts

I would be much more afraid of a large cruise ship and the passengers getting on and off of cruise ships at a series of ports that attract tourists from all over the world.

Posted by
13716 posts

I also didn’t hit party spots and was there when their numbers were a
little lower.

Travelmom, i saw you in the Plaka!

Posted by
8 posts

I am going see everyone in athens on Sept. 3!
Thanks again for all the advice!

OPA!

Posted by
34 posts

We are leaving on Friday for Crete and I will post once we arrive. I am glad you decided to go, life is short and I am sure you will have a great trip. I am also in Huntington Beach small world.

We were there in in June/July. What is nice and helps is that virtually everything we did was outside - except for two museum visits. We ate every meal outside. I felt so much safer there than I do here in Florida or traveling within the US. They really walk the walk in terms of safety and protocols. Staff are all masked, sanitizer everywhere, very clean - and you witness frequent cleaning, etc. It is not window dressing or flat out ignoring (like Florida). Obviously, as we've known all along the vaccine does not prevent infection so that is a risk and one you'll have to weigh for yourself.

Posted by
532 posts

I am just finishing a cruise through the Greek Isles. It was on Viking though, and was a fully vaccinated ship, with daily PCR testing. We also were in a bubble and could not wander on our own. The locals on some of the islands are concerned about Covid but locals could move around freely without masks outside. Some curfew restrictions also on some of the islands.

Posted by
2995 posts

I'm supposed to be going on Saturday, haven't booked plane tickets yet watching the situation there due to pet health issues at home, the fires, and Covid cases. As a vaccinated low-ish risk person, I'm not that afraid of contracting covid on the trip (especially since so much of what we do in Greece is fully outdoors) but wouldn't want to having my vacation ruined by quarantining or spread to to someone who isn't able to be vaccinated. At this point we're going to go, we're spending the bulk of our time just beaching/hiking/eating on a Saronic island so we should be unaffected by the fires and the rates of Covid are moderate on the small island. I'm tempted to try to add on some stuff to a few days on the back end somewhere else, but am feeling less sure about that. Guess I'll decide today and let you guys know how it goes!

Posted by
1316 posts

Greek press are reporting that the government are preparing to announce new regulations. Speculation is that the announcement will be made tomorrow (Tuesday 24th) and will include a return to wearing masks outside, but probably not for people who have been vaccinated. There’s also speculation that those not vaccinated will need to take regular tests from the beginning of September.

A government spokesperson ruled out another general lockdown although curfews are continuing in various places.

Posted by
2995 posts

Well, we're booked with a late flight arriving to Athens on the 28th of August, will take the bus to Piraeus for a night in the hotel before setting off to Agistri on the morning of the 29th. We're booked there through the 3rd, and fly out of Athens late in in the day on the 5th. Now I have to decide if it's worth it to get a hotel for 2 nights in Athens with the 4th devoted to a day trip, visiting the Parthenon museum the morning of the 5th (we missed it last time we were in Athens, 4 whole years ago!) or to extend our trip in Agistri by one night, and head to Athens on the 4th to either see the museum on that afternoon or also on the 5th. Leaning towards the latter at this point, in theory 6 nights on Agistri is a long time on such a small island, but on the other hand, it's been a rough week, it's still looking very hot and uh, firey near Athens, and we have friends joining us on Agistri now on the 1st.

My biggest fear aside from the obvious Covid and fire-related stuff, is just that in early September the island will already be a bit dead. This happened to us in mid-September in 2017 when a big storm swept through early and cut the season short. No weather-related worries this year, but with Covid and unexpected vacancies from what I assume are people cancelling their trips, we learned that when 2/3rds of the island's restaurants and cafes are closed it's a very different experience, and of course they close when the tourists aren't there. Almost tempted to leave the decision the the last minute (i.e. stay an extra night if it's available once we get there based on how the island seems to be doing.) Found a Facebook group for residents/repeat visitors and hope to get a better sense of what things are like on the ground if they admit me.

Posted by
1316 posts

New measures now announced. They come in on 13th September.
- masks indoors for everyone
- Vaccination certificate or negative test to enter museum, cinema or theatre
- Only vaccinated allowed inside restaurants.
There are also additional tests for workers.

Posted by
975 posts

Agistri is indeed a small island although very nice and family friendly.

If you want more options then the nearby and larger island of Aegina would be better. More villages, archeological/historic sites, sea side villages, abandoned Byzantine village in the hills, ancient olive groves, Pistachio Capital of Greece, nice main town, good food and friendly locals.

You can also do a day trip to Agistri from Aegina but if it was me I would go to Aegina.

Since Aegina is the closest Greek island to the coast it attracts locals who go for a day trip or long weekends so they'll be plenty open to keep you happy.

Athens deserves a minimum of two days with three better. Lots more to see than just the tourist stuff.

Not sure what you mean by the Parthenon Museum. Do you mean the National Museum or the New Acropolis Museum or the Acropolis itself?

Posted by
532 posts

The new rules don’t look any different than current rules. I was just there and I had to wear a mask indoors and show my vaccination card to enter museums.

Posted by
7 posts

Is the U. S. vaccine card all we will need to get into restaurants and museums? Or is there some other form of certification we need to get? We are supposed to fly out on 9/17 but I'm getting increasingly concerned about it.

Posted by
13716 posts

I was in Greece in July. I needed my vaccine card to enter the country (and the PLF registration) and I needed it to enter two tourist sites. Otherwise not at all. Actually, I didn't use it for the two sites either. They accepted my daughter's card for both of us.

Posted by
1925 posts

gayla, make sure you have your vaccination card AND your PLR QR code available and you will be fine for documentation. I had to show my QR code once in July because that is what they asked for but maybe they would have accepted the card. I also ate all meals except hotel breakfasts outside.

Posted by
293 posts

Gayla, We are heading there on 9/19.. Let's stay positive!! We are going to get there, and it will be awesome!!!!! Just a few extra hurdles in our way......

Posted by
1 posts

We are heading to Greece in two weeks. Does anyone have updated sources on curfews and infection rates throughout Greece?

Posted by
2995 posts

Tommy: Thanks for the tips but as I said I'm a repeat visitor. This will be my 3rd time staying on Agistri (and as I also mentioned my hotel has been non-refundable for weeks). I've spent many days in Athens previously, but the only major site we missed was the Acropolis museum, so we're going to hit it on our way out.

I'll let everyone know how we get on. Already new restrictions in Germany for showing the vaccine passport, indoor masking has never gone away here, so I don't think Greece will feel all that different.

Posted by
49 posts

I think the EU will provide a nonbinding decision for member states. Every country then will decide. I bet Greece will still allow US tourists, but probably only fully vaccinated, maybe even with tests. I don't think they just block anyone.

Posted by
2995 posts

PS OP - Just passed your cruise ship!

On the car ferry to Agistri. So far it's been smooth sailing (lol) but we did come in from a Schengen country. We had to show our vaccine passport/CDC card for those without as well as the QR code from the Greek Government as discussed previously before boarding the plane and upon disembarking. We also had to show the QR code upon checking into our hotel in Piraeus. We had to show our vaccine passport and fill out an additional health form before boarding Saronic Ferries - they give you the form when you buy tickets but it's uh, easier if you bring your own pen. I nearly had to sell my soul to get the irritated young employee to let me borrow one (insisting they had them on two tables - but those had been stolen).

No smoke in the air in Athens, weather is great, masking is the same as Germany basically (inside all the time, outside no need unless moving through a restaurant or boat, almost everyone is wearing surgical or FFP2s). If Americans are still allowed after the upcoming announcement AND you're vaccinated and not otherwise vulnerable and willing to comply with the rules, I don't see why people shouldn't come.

The 11:00 am ferry is crazy busy, btw! Mostly with Greeks, but still...

Posted by
8 posts

Hello from Greece, what a great country! Love it here getting ready to board the Norwegian Jade. I made it thanks everyone for the wonderful advise! On my to Rhodes will be there tomorrow. Besides wearing masks in doors there is a real since of normallicy here people are still going out to restaurants, museums and of course the bars. The greek culture is alive and well and tourism is back people from everywhere the world have made there way here. Well just got the ok to board negative covid test. As they say in Greeve OPA!